I shouldn’t have. But I did. We were going to go away for a few days and as I usually take a small stitching project on such occasions I decided I might as well, why not, take one of Kelly Fletcher’s freebies. I know it wasn’t strictly speaking on my To Do list, but after all Time Away is meant to be different from Time At Home, isn’t it? As it happens we had to come home early, so I either had to abandon the project for the time being or redesignate our unexpected Time At Home as Time Away Within The Meaning Of The Act. Guess which…
When considering materials for the KF designs I wasn’t sure I actually had a suitable fabric, as I haven’t done that much surface embroidery up to now (by the way, can someone explain to me why it is called surface embroidery? Surely most embroidery is done on a surface?), and what I have done has been on dupion silk or coloured cotton. For this I wanted a very fine linen. Now you may remember I did order some recently, but as it was from a Dutch shop the fabric was sent to my mother, where we will pick it up on our holiday next month. I do have a nice piece of 36ct Zweigart Edinburgh linen, however, which judging by Mary Corbet’s blog and other sources might work. Off I went to my linen bag (that’s a bag of linen fabrics, not a bag made from linen) and found to my pleasant surprise (and slight embarrassment in having forgotten all about them) a piece of 40ct Zweigart Newcastle linen in a stony colour, a piece of cream 48ct Gander linen, and a piece of antique white 55ct Zweigart Kingston linen. I bought them some time back for stitching miniatures on, but then found that silk gauze was easier to work on. Never mind, they will now Come In Handy!
Feeling very virtuous in having found the right fabric (or several right fabrics) in my stash, I added to this by deciding to use some of my collection of silks instead of the prescribed DMC cottons. Do you know how you sometimes keep certain special threads, fabrics, embellishments for a special occasion, and somehow there is hardly ever an occasion sufficiently special? Of course sticking to that principle rigidly enough will only lead to leaving behind an impressive collection of untouched silk threads in the hope that one of your nearest and dearest will want to use them. Now I’m not quite that bad – I have used several of my silks, but I’ve decided to use them more, and these two projects seemed the perfect start to my resolution.
So here is the set-up for Bloomin’ Marvellous 2: The Gander linen with four shades of Chameleon Shades of Africa silk, which is overdyed Soie d’Alger. I plan to use the recommended number of strands, but as I shrunk the design a bit that may come out too chunky, so I may change it for some or all of the petals.
And here is the set-up for Cats on a Wall; well, the materials – I haven’t transferred the design yet (like the flower it’ll be smaller than intended by KF). The fabric is the Newcastle linen (the shade is called Flax), and the threads are Rainbow Gallery Splendor stranded silk. The design uses four shades of green but I had only three in this series, so I’ll use the lightest one for two cats. Incidentally, I wound these threads several years ago but never noticed until now that I put the initials wrong on two of the bobbins. “RSG”. Tut.
Talking of using up “special stash”, I’ve been doing just that in putting together the shisha kits: the variegated green stranded thread used for the leaf comes from my collection of Carrie’s Creations stranded cotton and silk. However, they are not easy to come by here in the UK, so it would be a good idea to have an indigenous thread standing by for when I run out. Like Tamar Embroideries’ Fine 5-Stranded Cotton, shade 243. It looked just the thing on their website, but would it go with the DMC coton a broder I am using for the stem? I contacted them to ask, and instead of having a look themselves and replying Yes or No (or, as some companies might have done, simply ignored it) they sent me a generous sample so I could try it out for myself!
And I think it’s a pretty good match, wouldn’t you say?
I haven’t stitched with it yet, but from the look of it the strands seem to be about the same thickness as DMC stranded cotton; the whole thread looks more tightly twisted so the strands have a more wiggly look than DMC. The only other difference I can see is that it is 5- instead of 6-stranded. There’s another shisha variation I want to try so I’ll use the Tamar thread for the leaf and I’ll let you know how I got on with it, and how it looks with the coton a broder stem.